Kenny Wilson, chief executive of the British footwear brand, said refurbished or second-hand boots have the potential to account for 15 per cent of sales within 10 years, so figuring out how to play in that market is important.
“We think this will be an important part of how consumers shop in the future,” he said, adding that there are already other businesses trading second-hand DMs. “It’s part of something that’s really important to the business in the long run. Our incredible strength is the durability of the product. I can have a pair of shoes that are seven or eight years old, and for people who want to buy them, They are still very good.”
Depop has a younger customer base, but Wilson said interest in sustainability has broad appeal. “People of all ages say they’d rather buy refurbished than new. There are a lot of other people who do want new. It’s about choice,” Wilson said.
With increased shopper demand, Dr Martens has joined the refurbishment and resale boom at all levels of the fashion market – from Mulberry and Harvey Nichols to Marks & Spencer and H&M.
Even the reality show Love Island has picked up on the trend, with a new partnership with eBay featuring participants wearing “liked” items, replacing previous sponsorship partners including fast-fashion brands Missguided and I Saw it First.
The international resale market is expected to grow from $27bn (£21bn) today to $57bn by 2025, according to the Business of Fashion report, and resale market ThredUp estimates that resale will grow 11 times faster than the entire apparel retail industry . The next five years.
Lorna Hall, fashion director at trend forecasting firm WGSN, said consumers now see “clothes as currency”, with the sale of old clothes to fund new ones, and brands that don’t participate will get out of the fast-growing market. market.
“There are three driving forces,” she said. “It’s become part of the retail experience for shoppers who have free time, often young people who like to find items and create a personalised look and have stuff that you can’t buy in bulk right now [on the mass market].
“There are also viewers who see it as a more sustainable way to shop and there is a cost of living crisis that will drive more shoppers to seek better value from resale.”
She said it has become easier for brands to enter the market thanks to the rise of companies that handle returns and the resale process, such as ThredUp and resale technology company Reflaunt.
Under Dr. Martens’s ReSouled program with Depop, aging DMs can be repolished with new laces, soles, heel loops and insoles before being put back on the market. The price of this shoe is about 80% of new.After Dr Martens, lower prices may have wider appeal increase price Its classic 1460 eight-hole boots are on sale in the UK from £10 to £159 in July.
Prices in Europe, including the UK and the US, are rising as demand for goods and rising wages have caused leather, metal eyelets, soles and shipping costs to soar.
Thousands of pairs of DMs returned from wholesale customers have been given new life through partnership with specialist refurbisher The Boot Repair Company or at Dr Martens’ UK factory.
Wilson said the company was considering how to design a larger plan, but the joint venture with Depop could go through about six months of testing before making any decisions on next steps.
A key part of developing any comprehensive refurbishment plan is looking at how to refurbish boots locally close to where they are sold, he said. That could include more work at the Wollaston plant near Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England, where the company was founded which currently accounts for just 2% of sales.
Workers there use a variety of new technologies, such as computer-guided cutting machines and custom-made sewing machines that look old-fashioned, to create the slightly pricier British-made range.
The group has had to diversify its manufacturing base. Four years ago, 80 percent of its boots were made in China, but now a third is made in Vietnam, with the UK factory expanding to a second factory in 2019.
The company is taking a cautious approach after scrapping previous attempts to serve the market. The For Life series launched in 2009 with a lifetime warranty on the boots, but was cancelled in 2018.